Yosemite Backpack Trips

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Yosemite Backpack Trip to Clouds Rest Summit by John P. DeGrazio

Experience Yosemite Wilderness and live for a few days in the backcountry as John Muir would “while cares will drop off like Autumn leaves”. Our backpack trips allow you to unplug and decompress while you literally follow in Muir’s footprints throughout Yosemite’s wild Sierra. Times may have changed, but the wilderness continues to attract many a hiker. Allow us to bring you to  some of our favorite spots as we ramble through the high country. Guided Backpacking Trips in Yosemite National Park are open to Individuals and Groups of all ages and experience levels. We provide tents, design a menu, prepare all the food, and we obtain the permits for you. We offer two to five day trips tailored to fit any back country experience you desire. Longer trips are available upon request, and prices vary depending on group size and length of trip. Individual trip availability depends on current weather conditions. Listed are some examples of trips to consider. Daily mileage will vary according to the trip duration you choose.Our private backcountry trips guarantee an enhanced wilderness experience.

What to expect: We’ll send you a gear list once you begin planning your trip with us so that you know how to prepare. You also get to make choices about how you’ll eat on the trail, we’ll send you a menu with options and you can tell us your preferences. Our hikes are flexible. We have the option to add days or shorten trips on some backpacking trips.


Family Backpack trip at young Lakes by John P. DeGrazio


2-5+ Day Yosemite Backpacking Trips

Custom Tours with experienced guides

With the hustle and bustle of modern life thousands of feet below and many miles away, time has nothing to do but slow down. This gives you ample time to appreciate the Yosemite high country in all its glory. Whether it is the alpine meadows overflowing with wildflowers, or the best crystal clear swimming holes known to mankind, you just can’t go wrong.

Our richly experienced guides hope to offer insight into the many facets of back country living. A few examples include the creation of simple delectable meals, ways of streamlining your gear, and the practice of various techniques that will minimize physical strain and allow you to feel at home in the mountains.


Backpacking in Yosemite


Yosemite Valley South Rim – Pohono Trail – 11-17 miles

Want a good introduction to backpacking with spectacular views? This trip is great for families with younger children or for beginners who want time to relax along the trail. Wandering through meadows and majestic forests, this trail surprises hikers when the forest ends and we are looking down from a point onto the floor of Yosemite Valley below. Mostly flat and gradual downhill hiking, our only climb will be a day hike to see Taft Point. The hike ends at the base of the waterfall we camped along the first night!

Day 1 – 2-8 miles: 2 miles to camp at Bridalveil Creek (optional 4-6 mile day hike)

Day 2 – 3.5 miles to Stanford Point

Day 3 – 5 miles to Bridalveil Falls

*This is a gentle trip with 10.5-16.5 miles total, including 3000 ft descent and an optional 500 ft climb as a day hike.

Young Lakes 2 Day Trek- 15 miles

Visit high alpine lakes in Yosemite’s High Country. The first day’s hike is a steady climb with stunning rewards. Stop at Dog Lake and in a high alpine meadow with spectacular views including the Lyell Glacier and Tuolumne Meadows below. Camp at lakes above tree line and see all the stars. Spend the morning exploring the upper lakes and enjoy a late day stroll downhill toward Tuolumne Meadows.

Day 1 – 6.5 miles to Lower Young Lake

Day 2 – 1 mile to Upper Lakes and 6.5 mile return to Trailhead


Group Backpack on North Rim of Yosemite Valley


Yosemite Valley North Rim (From the Top) – 26.5 miles

Choose this trip for the same spectacular views as “From the Bottom,” but without the strenuous climb and descent. Great for families and beginners. This hike highlights the park’s majestic forests and the dramatic cliffs of the Valley, and is great for families.

Day 1 – 7.5 miles along Yosemite Creek to Rim of the Valley

Day 2 – 8 mile day hike to El Capitan, return to same camp

Day 3 – 6.5 miles to Yosemite Falls and North Dome

Day 4 – 4.5 miles to Indian Rock and to trailhead. Day 4 optional: If everyone has the energy, add a 5 mile day hike to the last day for more stunning views of Half Dome!

*This is a moderate trip that descends 1500 ft and gains 2000 ft. This trip can be shortened to a 3-day trip by skipping Day 2.

Buena Vista Peak loop -30 miles

If you wish to spend less time climbing mountains and more time swimming, this trip is for you. This relaxing trail meanders through several meadows and takes you to at least eight sub alpine lakes. A moderate climb will reward you with views of North, Basket, & Half Dome, Cloud’s Rest, and Mt. Starr King.

Day 1 – 8 miles from Bridalveil campground to Chilnualua Creek (gain 500 ft)

Day 2 – 7 miles to Royal Arch Lake (gain 1200 ft)

Day 3 – 6 miles to Edison Lake (gain 300 ft/loss 900 ft)

Day 4 – 8 miles returning to Bridalveil camp (loss 1200 ft)

*This is a moderate hike that gains 2000 ft and descends 1500 ft.

Ten Lakes – 16-20 miles

High country lakes abound on this trip. After a steady climb through the forest on the first day’s hike, we cross over Ten Lakes Pass for a breathtaking view of the High Country. A quick descent takes us to the Ten Lakes Basin where we camp for the next two nights. Day two is carefree while we explore the lakes, take some time to relax, swim or fish. On day three, a small climb takes us back to the top of the pass for views of the Tuolumne River Canyon. We will visit Grant Lakes and then return to the trailhead, walking downhill most of the day.

Day 1 – 6 miles to Ten Lakes

Day 2 – 2-6 miles optional day hike

Day 3 – 8 miles to Grant Lakes and trailhead

*This is a moderate trip that begins at 7500 ft and climbs 2000 ft. Total gains and descent are 2600 ft over 3 days. Option to add days to relax at the lakes.

Polly Dome Lakes and Mt Hoffman – 16 miles

This is a great trip for beginner and intermediate backpackers or families wanting to climb a mountain! The trail up Mt. Hoffman takes us into the land of marmots living on High Sierra summits. From the top at 10850 ft in the center of Yosemite, is a breathtaking panorama that includes Half Dome and views of two river canyons. Our first night is spent adjusting to the elevation at Polly Dome Lakes after a moderate and short climb in. Day two is a half day’s hike to May Lake Backpacker’s Camp (with a flushing toilet!) from where we can climb Mt Hoffman, offering views of Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon. On the last day, we return to the trailhead with a steady descent.

Day 1 – 3.5 miles to Polly Dome Lakes with time to time to explore or an optional day hike in the afternoon

Day 2 – 4.5 miles to May Lake Backpacker’s Camp

Day 3 – 8 miles, to Mt Hoffman and returning to trailhead

*This is a moderate trip with 1000 ft of gain and 1500 ft. This does not include a day hike up Mt Hoffman, which adds 1250 ft gain and descent.

Chilnualna Falls – 22 miles

A good early season hike in the southern end of Yosemite for when other trails are still covered in snow. The Chilnualna Falls hike climbs out of Wawona with views of the falls. After a steep hike to the top we will set up camp and enjoy the majestic forest. The second day we’ll take smaller packs and set off day hiking to Crescent and Johnson Lakes, returning to our camp at the top of Chilnualna Falls for a second night. Returning to the trailhead, the last day is downhill alongside the waterfall that’s filled our bottles for the last few days.

Day 1 – 7 miles to the top of Chilnualna Falls

Day 2 – 8 miles day hiking to Crescent and Johnson Lakes, return to camp

Day 3 – 7 miles to Wawona trailhead

*This is a moderate hike that gains and descents 4000 ft (2500 ft while backpacking and 1500 ft while day hiking.) Day 2 can be shortened if you choose to include a half rest day for journaling or stretching.

Camping above Lake Vernon, Yosemite by John P. DeGrazio

Moderately Strenuous:

Yosemite Valley North Rim (From the Bottom)- 28 miles

Challenge yourself with the steep granite cliffs of Yosemite Valley. The fit hiker will be rewarded with views of Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and the Valley floor below. The first day climbs up the Yosemite Falls trail with a campsite near the top and an evening walk to the top of the falls. On the second day, we take a smaller pack for a day hike to the top of El Capitan and then move camp a couple of miles. The third day explores the rim of Yosemite Valley crossing several creeks while walking through old growth forests of pine and fir trees. An afternoon hike to North Dome gives views of waterfalls and the Valley down below. The last night campsite gets you close to Half Dome with a breathtaking view. On the last day we take our time descending to the floor of Yosemite Valley.

Day 1 – 4 miles to the top of Yosemite Falls

Day 2 – 9.5 miles: 8 miles day hike to the top of El Capitan, and move camp 1.5 miles

Day 3 – 10.5 miles to North Dome and Indian Rock

Day 4 – 4 miles to Yosemite Valley

*This is a moderately strenuous hike that gains and loses 4000 ft total. The first day’s hike gains 3000 ft and fourth day’s descent is 3000 ft. This trip can be shortened by omitting the hike to El Capitan on Day 2, making the trip to 3 days.

Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley Via Vogelsang (including Half Dome) – 35 miles

Follow a river’s journey from Alpine Lake to Yosemite Valley. Gain stunning views of the Cathedral Range and Half Dome’s Summit along the way. Summit Half Dome on the last day of the trip before hiking to Yosemite Valley. The trip ends with a wonderful crescendo as you pass Nevada and Vernal falls.

Day 1 – 7.8 miles to Vogelsang Lake

Day 2 – 7.5 miles to Merced Lake,

Day 3 – 8.8 miles to the saddle of Half Dome

Day 4 – 9.3 miles to Yosemite Valley

*This is a moderately strenuous hike with a total trip elevation gain of 1000 ft. and descent of over 4000 ft.

Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne- 29 miles

Join us for a trip of a lifetime. For three days you will descend over 3500 feet into one of the deepest gorges in Yosemite National Park. You will be captivated by views of sheer granite walls, emerald green pools, and waterfalls present at every bend of the trail. Challenge yourself on the final day as you climb out of the valley, approximately 3500 feet. You won’t regret it.

Day 1 – 7 miles to California falls

Day 2 – 7.5 miles to Muir gorge

Day 3 – 7.5 miles to Pate Valley

Day 4 – 7 miles to White Wolf

*This is a moderately strenuous hike that gains and loses 3500 ft.

Laurel and Vernon lakes loop – 30 miles

Hetch Hetchy is similar to Yosemite Valley in its unique displays of vertical and undulating granite faces. Tour several lakes that feed into this valley, obtaining impressive views of Hetch Hetchy Dome and Kolana Rock along the way. Feel the mist as you traverse below Rancheria and 1400 ft. tall Wapama Falls.

Day 1 – 7 miles to Laurel Lake

Day 2 – 5.7 miles to Lake Vernon

Day 3 – 8.1 miles to Tiltill Valley

Day 4 – 9 mile finish to Hetch Hetchy Dam

*Although the trip begins with a hearty climb of 2700 feet, the remaining days contain only gentle meandering and descents. Because of its lower elevations, this is a preferred spring and late fall trip when snow can be a factor.

Backpacking in Yosemite Wilderness by John P. DeGrazio


Ten Lakes Loop with Mt. Hoffman – 28 miles

This is a more challenging hike crossing the tree line several times with views to reward. Begin the Ten Lakes walk and camp in Ten Lakes basin for the first night. The second day is a big day as we rise and fall through spectacular scenery, ending on Tuolumne Peak with the one of the best views you’ll ever have at a campsite. Day 3 begins downhill leaving the marmots and pikas behind. We’ll make camp at May Lake and try day hiking Mt. Hoffman either tonight or on the morning of Day 4, as weather and time permits. This 10,850 ft peak offers a 360-degree panorama of the park, including Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon. After this peak, it’s time to hike out back to Tioga Road and complete the trip with a short car shuttle.

Day 1 – 6 miles to Ten Lakes

Day 2 – 8.5 miles to Tuolumne Peak

Day 3 – 7 miles to May Lake

Day 4 – 6.5 miles to Mt. Hoffman and to trailhead

*This is a strenuous hike with many ups and downs in and out of canyons. Total gains are 4000 ft and descent 4200 ft. This does not include a day hike up Mt Hoffman, which adds 1250 ft gain and descent.

Young Lakes – 21 miles

Visit high alpine lakes in Yosemite’s High Country. The first day’s hike is a steady climb with stunning rewards. Stop at Dog Lake and in a high alpine meadow with spectacular views including the Lyell Glacier and Tuolumne Meadows below. Camp at lakes above tree line and see all the stars. Spend a day fishing or swimming and looking for marmots, or take a cross-country day hike. Enjoy the last day’s hike downhill toward Tuolumne Meadows.

Day 1 – 6.5 miles to Lower Young Lake

Day 2 – 1 mile to Upper Young Lake and a relaxation day


Day 2 – 6 mile cross country day hike to either Roosevelt Lake or Mt. Conness

Day 3 – 7.5 miles to Tuolumne Meadows

*This is a strenuous hike beginning at a high elevation of 8600 ft and gaining 1500 ft. An optional hike to Mt. Conness adds 2600 ft of gain and loss. The third day descent is 1500 ft. This trip can be extended to include both day hikes and/or a rest day. You will love relaxing at 11000 ft.

Red Peak Pass and Half Dome – 50 miles

Looking for a longer trip and the quiet backcountry that comes along with it? This backpacking trip follows creeks and river that will take us above tree line and over Red Peak pass at 11,200 ft. Explore many mountain ecosystems as we walk through old forest burns, through snow at the pass, and follow the Merced River from its headwaters down canyon for the last 25 miles of the hike. If you want to climb the cables of Half Dome, this will be on the last day of our hike.

Day 1 – 8 miles, Mono Meadows to camp at Illilouette Creek

Day 2 – 8 miles to Ottoway Lakes

Day 3 – 8 miles to Triple Peak Fork

Day 4 – 6.5 miles to Washburn Lake on Merced River

Day 5 – 7 miles to Echo Valley on Merced River

Day 6 – 7.5 miles to Little Yosemite Valley

Day 7 – 8.5 miles to summit Half Dome and return to Yosemite Valley (or 4.5 miles without Half Dome)

*This is a strenuous hike that gains and loses 7000 ft, passing over Red Peak Pass at 11,200 ft. Depending on the group capabilities and interests, side trips can be taken as time permits.

Yosemite Trail Dinner Being Served

Note: Many of our backpacking trips can also include a permit for a Half Dome summit attempt at no extra charge. It must be a reasonable destination according to the trip itinerary.

Backpacking outings are offered throughout the year. Please call toll free

(800) 886 8009 for their availability. Prices for these tours vary based on size of group and number of participants.

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